Pet insurance pays a portion of your pet’s medical bills for unexpected accidents and illness, and offers coverage for:
- Injuries, such as broken bones or swallowed objects.
- Chronic illnesses, such as arthritis or allergies.
- Common illnesses, such as ear infections or vomiting.
- Serious illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease.
- Hereditary conditions, such as hip dysplasia or eye disorders.
- Testing and diagnostics, such as X-rays and blood tests.
- Surgery and associated procedures.
- Prescription medication.
Some more comprehensive pet insurance plans offer extended coverage for the following:
- Alternative therapies, such as hydrotherapy and acupuncture.
- Behavioral therapies.
- Wellness and preventive care, including annual exams and vaccinations.
- Dental care for illnesses, including gum disease.
- Pet ownership assistance, such as lost pet advertising, coverage for end-of-life expenses and boarding due to an owner’s medical emergency.
Which Pet Insurance Covers Dental?
Maintaining your pet’s pearly whites is a very important part of their overall health, as dental problems can lead to other problems when left untreated. However, dental checkups don’t come cheap, running from $200 to $500 for a cleaning and $6,000 for a root canal. Pet dental insurance may be able to help offset the costs related to treatment, but not all offer the same level of coverage.
While all pet insurance companies surveyed extend coverage for dental accidents, such as a fractured tooth, only some cover dental illnesses. Not all pet insurance companies cover cleanings either. For example, Sonnet covers dental illnesses up to $300 a year and includes cleanings, while Trupanion offers unlimited coverage for dental illnesses, but not cleanings.
The following Canadian companies offer additional coverage for dental disease and illness:
- OVMA Pet Health Insurance
- Fetch By The Dodo
- The Personal Pet Insurance Program
- Desjardins Pet Insurance
Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying and Neutering?
A standard pet insurance policy covers unexpected illnesses and accidents, and spaying and neutering don’t fall into either category. That’s because spaying and neutering are predictable procedures and expenses.
Wellness plans, also known as preventive plans, that are included in the more comprehensive pet insurance plans, or as an add-on, cover predictable expenses, such as annual exams, vaccinations, flea control and blood wellness tests. However, only two Canadian pet insurance companies surveyed included coverage for spaying and neutering:
- Spot Pet Insurance
- Pets Plus Us
Does Pet Insurance Cover Vaccinations?
Vaccinations help protect your pet from a number of potentially serious and even fatal diseases. According to the Ontario Medical Veterinary Association, every pet should be vaccinated. Core canine vaccines include: rabies, distemper, adenovirus-2 and parvovirus. Additional vaccines based on your pet’s medical history and lifestyle include leptospirosis, Lyme disease, bordetella and influenza. Pet insurance is for unexpected illnesses and accidents, while vaccinations are part of your pet’s routine care. However, vaccinations may be covered if your policy includes wellness or preventative care, either as core coverage or an add-on. For example, Spot’s Routine and Advanced wellness plan add-ons include coverage for vaccinations.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Exist Conditions?
No. Due to the cost of treatment pre-existing conditions and the relatively short lifetime of a pet (dogs live on average 10 to 13 years depending on the breed), pet insurance providers exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage. A pre-existing condition is defined as an illness or injury that starts prior to policy enrollment, including any waiting period. Note that most insurance providers stipulate that a condition does not need to be diagnosed to be considered pre-existing.
Here’s a scenario: If your pet goes to the vet with a limp, but there is no diagnosis, but later is found to have developed hip dysplasia, if that initial visit happens before your pet is enrolled, that condition will be ineligible for any coverage going forward.
However, some insurance companies, such as OVMA, Pets Plus Us, Furkin and Spot, make concessions for a temporary or “curable” condition, including bladder infections or respiratory infections. As long as your pet is cured, shows no further symptoms and a certain amount of time has passed since that initial diagnosis (usually between six months and one year), that condition may be covered in your plan moving forward.
What Type of Pets are Covered by Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance companies in Canada currently only provide coverage for dogs and cats.